Using his marketing experience, Kevin Brennan hopes to increase the accessibility of the Students’ Union, by bringing the union to the student body.
Kevin Brennan is a politics and sociology student who is seeking to be voted in as the union’s next Campaigns and Communications Officer (C&C).
Brennan feels that he is well equipped for the C&C role due to his experience in PR, campaigns, and marketing. Although he has never formally been involved in the union as a class rep or college officer he has worked extensively on previous students’ union referendums and campaigns. Notably he was at “the first meeting for UCD for Choice, getting things together and making posters” and has worked on, and managed, the successful SU campaigns of Luke Fitzpatrick and Robert Sweeney.
One of the features of Brennan’s ideas is his willingness and desire to diversify the activities of the Students’ Union and in doing so, look to collaborate with “any society that would be willing to work with the union.” He aims to increase the “the amount of daytime, commuter friendly, and non-alcoholic events” as well as looking to decentralise the union’s activities away from the Student Centre itself. He wants to “target each faculty” and ensure each has “different events on weekly.” Expanding on this point he notes that students are more likely to engage with the union and attend events if they’re “still able to get [their] 5 o’clock bus home.”
On the point of student engagement, he notes that “looking to increase student engagement is said every year,” so much so that it is not really a valid campaign promise. He prefers the term of “increasing accessibility” through “communication… showing what we [the Union] are, where we are and that we are here to help.” Brennan concurs with several other candidates in looking for “notice boards… in every building,” saying that “every building should have an SU point to show what the Union is doing.
”One of Brennan’s most persuasive arguments is in the area of consent and sexual education.
Although it does not feature on his manifesto one of Brennan’s most persuasive arguments is in the area of consent and sexual education. Acknowledging that the majority of Irish sexual education is inadequate and heteronormative he wants to bring the issue of consent “back to basics.” According to him we “need to make it a casual conversation. It’s not a casual thing I’m not saying that… but a lot of people when you mention consent kind of step back.”
Nevertheless, as with many of his strong overall goals he seems to lack, as he himself admitted, any concrete plans on how to establish and run long-standing campaigns. When asked how he would tackle the waiting lists for counselling services, for example, he replied broadly, “A mental health campaign showing that there are issues.” He acknowledges that he does not “have all the ideas for these campaigns” but is determined to work together as a Students’ Union to solve issues: “we should all work together because we’re all students, we’re all fighting the same problems.” His honesty and modesty in admitting these shortcomings however is an encouraging sign.
Where he is more specific however, is in his clear comfort zone, discussing how details of the Union’s day-to-day activities would be shared with students. He describes how he has “worked previously… [with] social media both in college and outside of college” and how he believes that “continuing to work with the trends” is important when it comes to engaging with students. One of his most simple yet impressive ideas would use Snapchat: “Every day, I get each Officer to say what their plan for the day is, to show that they are actually doing stuff for the students… it will literally only take 20 seconds each.”
His take on reform of the Ents forum is to follow similar tactics as have been deployed in recent and highly successful, class rep recruitment campaigns. “I can’t see why we couldn’t tie in the Ents forum into the class rep campaign.” He thinks that the lack of campus-wide representation on the forum is for a simple reason, “I don’t think a lot of people know anyone can be on the Ents forum.” He also has ambitious, yet well-reasoned plans to reinstate weekly music events on campus, along the lines of the old “Trad Tuesday.”
Brennan obviously keeps abreast of campus news (he was aware of both the UCD Ents rebranding and the main points of other candidates’ manifestos), which could only help him if elected as C&C officer. While clearly honest, humble, and willing to learn, it remains to be seen whether his lack of clear plans for leadership, of both the campaigns’ and Ents forum, will lead to a dilution of the role of C&C officer.